ok, it's not books, and ok, i'm not even certain where the shelves are from, and ok, ok, this picture's been floating around the blogosphere for a while now, but i couldn't resist posting german dj ellen allien's great living room full of shelves. sue me.
no question what "influenced" this line of low-cost shelving from habitat. it gives nods to many great designs, including classics by vitsoe, zanotta, and cappellini. habitat have made a nice, clean, minimal system they can call their own. ikea tried a similar imitation that fell short with cheap looking finishes and glass shelves. (personal preference. the dust and fingerprints that show up on glass shelves makes them a high maintenance nightmare. plus, the ikea system has painted wood, satin finish metal and glass all in the same system. i much prefer the all-in-one look of the habitat system.)
available only at heal's in the uk, the stay line of shelving has been "specially designed to lean against a wall and brace under its own weight", though it doesn't seem terribly necessary: the design looks bulky enough to handle two back legs without changing its look substantially. still, i find something quite endearing about the low unit. now, when does heal's open in the us?
anyone who rents a variety of apartments in new york (or many other big cities with cramped spaces) will inevitably be vexed with the problem of narrow spaces between windows or doors. often these types of spaces may represent the only wall space in an apartment, creating a big problem for storage. a long history in furniture has taught me that very few companies make bookcases for very narrow spaces, and those that do seem to discontinue them quickly. so if you are one of those who've been faced with this dilemma, get your hands on a carlson white tower from cb2 before cb2 stops making them. while much of cb2's storage throws me off with features like "champagne stained nickel" and "frosted glass", the carlson comes in a bright white powdercoat finish that i can live with.
i've also seen people place a few ikea lerberg wall shelves (below) sideways, stacked above one another, in a narrow spot, as its spaces then become high enough and deep enough for books (smallish paperbacks, really). shown here in grey, it also comes in a clean, bright green.
an eye-opening project sent to me by abby low. these shelves were designed by astrid stavro using the layout grids of swiss graphic designer josef muller brockman as part of a project called "the art of the grid" at the royal college of art. classic rules of graphic design could bring some proportion and harmony to much of the gimmick-ridden contemporary product design world. a trend i wouldn't mind seeing.
cool name. cool shelves. designed in 1971 and made of abs plastic (a favorite material of the era), the stacking jeep system is one of the few plastic options out there to show such a great sense of style. but, then again, just about everything on bbb emmebonacina's website does.
does wanting your shelves to show a little texture mean your home has to look like a lodge? not necessarily. these railroad tie shelves are visually light enough to bring in a bit of natural/industrial ruggedness without hijacking the beauty of the books it holds.